Way back here, in one of my first blog entries, I wrote about how nervewracking it is to be distracted in the middle of a good book by errors that should have been discovered before publication. Tonight I'll write about it again, because it drives me insane.
I'm not talking about an occasional typo; we've all done that, and it's hard to spot when you're proofreading your own writing. I'm talking about segments of text that make you go, "Huhhhh???" With a book, especially, you'd think at least a few people would have read it prior to publication, and you'd think that at least one of them might have stumbled over the offending passage.
I've read several books in Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series and liked them all, but it seems as if all the editors were Gone when it came time to proofread his newest one. On page 57, Dr. Delaware and his homicide-cop buddy, Milo Sturgis, are interviewing a witness, one Shayndie Winograd. A good third of the page is devoted to Shayndie's son, Gershie, who is running around the apartment, and Dr. Delaware notes that "he looked to be about three."
Reading a little further, then turning the page, Shayndie excuses herself to "check on the babies." When she returns, Milo inquires about how many babies there are. "Twins," she said. "Seven months ago."
Milo was thinking like I'm thinking as I read this. "Mazel tov," said Milo. (Okay, I didn't think "Mazel tov," but I thought the next part.) "Three's a lot to handle." That's probably what you were thinking, too, but then Shayndie comes back with this:
"Shayndie Winograd smiled. 'Three would be easy. I've got six, five are school-age.'"
Okay, now, wait just a doggone minute! She has six kids and five are school aged? Even if Gershie Yoel, who "looked to be about three," was small for his age, what about the seven-month-old twins? The word "twins" means two babies as far as I know. Six kids minus two kids would be four possible school-aged children, right? Not five. Unless one of the twins is a genius, and the other is a...well, a seven-month-old baby.
I rest my case. I'm still reading, but don't think for a minute that this isn't stuck in the back of my mind, making me wonder what kind of a fool they think I am and what they're gonna try to pull on me next.